Notes from the Underground - Alternative Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1968 -1994



Akademie der Künste, Berlin


14.03.2018 - 06.05.2018


Daniel Muzyczuk, David Crowley

The exhibition Notes from the Underground – Alternative Art and Music in Eastern Europe 1968 – 1994  premiered at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź under the same title. Its Berlin version, supplemented with material originating from the German Democratic Republic, makes part of the project Underground and Improvisation. Alternative music and art after 1968. This extensive overview focused around alternative music and art of Eastern and Western Europe after 1968 comprises two exhibitions: Free Music Production / FMP: The Living Music and the abovementioned Notes from the Underground…

The first one looks into the local phenomenon of the FMP studio established in West Berlin and connected with the Akademie der Künste. The second one explores close interface between visual artists and musicians in the Communist Bloc. Although each exhibition tells a story of a phenomenon that was different with respect to scale and geographic scope, they are linked at conceptual level with the subject of music and improvisation, which often took parapolitical turn. There is also a spatial link provided by the stage setup for concerts performed as related events for both exhibitions.

The exhibition curated by Daniel Muzyczuk and David Crowley shows the parallel musical culture existing in Eastern Europe from the late 1960s until the first half of the 1990s.  On the one hand, in the early Cold War period after the Western “propaganda” popular culture was rejected, there was the mainstream musical culture actively supported by the governments in the Eastern Bloc with officially approved music stars, state controlled clubs and censored musical magazines. On the other hand, there was vivid culture emerging at the crossroads of arts and music, an alternative to dominant tastes and social formations. The exhibition draws attention to the art and music alliance running at levels deeper than performances controlled by the state. Apparently irrelevant aspects, such as the clothing style, became tangible ways of changing the world around. Rock and later punk and new wave music were at the same time specific types of sensitivity and music genres that shaped innovative arts, film, and literature, as well as specific life styles. Sometimes the art and music alliance was so close that it was next to impossible to distinguish one from the other.

The exhibition features works by the following artists: AG. Geige, Aktual, Autoperforationsartisten, A.E. Bizottság, Andrzej Bieżan, Gábor Bódy, Borghesia, Micha Brendel, Frank Bretschneider, Wojciech Bruszewski, Vladislav Burda, Ladislav Chocholoušek, Siergej Czernow, Robert Conrad, György Galántai, Marina Gržinić and Aina Šmid, Wiktor Gutt and Waldemar Raniszewski, Kilhets, Tamás Király, Leszek Knaflewski, Milan Knížák, Bohdan Kosiński, Marko Kovačič, (E-E) Jewgienij Kozłow, Siergiej Kuriochin, KwieKulik, Katalin Ladik, Helge Leiberg, Juris Lesnik, Via Lewandowsky, Luxus, Władysław Mamyszew-Monroe, Davorin Marc, Andrzej Mitan, Nowi Kompozytorzy [New Composers], Timur Nowikow, Ornament & Verbrechen, Post Ars, Praffdata, NSRD, OHO, Józef Robakowski, Tohm di Roes, Piotr Rypson, Jan Ságl, Zorka Ságlová, Cornelia Schleime, Siergiej Szołochow, Tomasz Sikorski, Joanna Stingray, Tibor Szemző, Siergiej Sołowjow, Władimir Tarasow, Michał Tarkowski, Totart, András Wahorn, Ramona Welsh, Wspólnota Leeeżeć [Lyyying Community], Vágtázó Halottkémek, János Xantus, Krzysztof Zarębski, Ziemia Mindel Würm, Zuzu-Vető.

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